Last Friday I concluded my time in my Astoria sublet and – with the help of a good friend and her Subaru station wagon – moved into my new apartment in the Hamilton Heights area of Manhattan. After many moves since I moved to New York in January of this year, I am thrilled to say that I finally have a home. It’s not a sublet, it’s not “staying on a friend’s couch”; it’s an apartment. And it’s mine. And I love it!
I did like my sublet in Astoria, but it had a few “dings” against it. First off, it is a garden unit. I’m a person who needs sunlight. In fact, I usually love having my windows open with fresh air pouring in. You can’t have that in most garden units, and I certainly couldn’t have it in the one I was living in. Also, the place was filled with items and memorabilia that wasn’t mine. Pictures, decor, and so many other things I couldn’t control or change – and more importantly, I couldn’t make my own.
Granted for the five-month sublet, I made it work. But I noticed something when I moved. I was infinitely more productive, positive and back to my adventurous boisterous self! Why? Because I’m a home-body. I love going out and am usually out and about versus in my apartment; but when I come home, I want it to be home. I want to have that happy deep breath that one has after walking into one’s own abode.
In the other apartment, I worked a great deal amount of hours due to an immense amount of work coming in. Granted, a cave is a great place to get a lot of work done. But one thing was missing that is usually there with my work – that spark of creativity that I get and all those other ideas I tuck away into my “remember to try this next time” list. That didn’t happen there. I got my work done, was consistently exhausted, and quite frequently grumpy.
After a mere 48 hours in my new apartment, I have completed my entire to-do list that has been building for three months, I’m reading the entire newspaper each day like I used to, I finished a novel and I’ve gone to a museum exhibit and walked through Riverside Park. Oh yes, and I have slept with the windows open both nights. Why the change? Because I have that feeling of ownership here. I decorate with my items, I have my pictures on the wall (see below), and it makes a difference in how I feel and how I work. I have to work three days a week out of this apartment. I better like it!
We all have to deal with the not-so-great office environments that include cubicle farms or sharing desks. But when you have that little bit of control to make something your own, take it. One of my colleagues has Peanuts cartoons covering his cubicle wall along with a white board on which he writes pick-me-up phrases. I used to cover my cubicle with images I ripped out of fashion magazines combined with family photos. Do what you can to gain that feeling of control in your environment – work and personal. The impact it has on your demeanor is striking. Plus how good does it feel when you walk in the door and go, “Ahhh?”